|Espino: Enumerating his accomplishments .|
|Braganza: Lighting a fire.|
The campaign strategy of Mayor Hernani Braganza has fallen deeper into a dark pit shrouded with lies, illusions and black propaganda. When two highly respected political analysts from the University of the Philippines were quoted in the Philippine Daily Inquirer yesterday (March 6, 2013) for issuing statements that “Machinery and track record to decide Pangasinan (gubernatorial) race,” Braganza hastily produced a press release that “voters, not party machinery, win election.”
For the uninitiated, the press release of Braganza looks impressive. But if you read further and check the real political situation in Pangasinan, you will see a lucid concoction of lies wrapped with illusions and dirty tricks. Let us compare some portions of the story that came out in the Inquirer and the press release of Braganza before understanding the truth. Inquirer says: “Political analysts say that for a province with 1.6 million voters scattered in 44 towns and four cities, a candidate’s political machinery and track record would be very crucial to win the race. Records of the Commission on Elections show that NPC has fielded 43 mayoral candidates with 28 of them running for re-election. In contrast, LP only has 29 mayoral candidates , three of them seeking re-election. These figures simply indicate that NPC is better organized and has a well-oiled machinery in the province.”
Braganza’s Press Release: “Braganza, the Liberal Party’s gubernatorial candidate in Pangasinan, said voters in the provinces have grown wary of traditional politicians who rely on party machinery to woo supporters in electoral campaigns. ‘The days of the monolithic party machineries are over. Voters, not party machinery, win elections,’ said Braganza.”
Facts: Governor Espino has a track record of winning elections based on performance and non-traditional political strategy that brought him to an overwhelming landslide victory against a well-entrenched traditional political family in the last gubernatorial elections with 74% voters going for Espino and 26% went to his opponent.
Present Scenario: Watch the crowd attending the gathering of Gov. Espino and Mayor Braganza. Braganza’s Peace and Development consultations can only gather a small and lukewarm crowd of a few hundreds while Espino’s I Love Pangasinan Movement Caravan has a large enthusiastic crowd by the thousands. Even in Alaminos City, 23 of 39 barangay captains have expressed disgust against the leadership of Braganza.
Fearless Forecast: Well-oiled machinery + sterling performance + extreme public support versus lack of machinery, lack of performance and lack of public support = 95% voters for Espino and 5% voters or less for Braganza. Aside from the machinery and performance issue, the press release of Braganza highlighted the cases filed against governor Espino and the machinations that the governor is playing dirty politics.
Facts: The three cases filed against Governor Espino, which are obviously the handiwork of Braganza, have all backfired.
First, the Black Sand issue filed at the Office of the Ombudsman has become a “wasted effort” with the issuance of the Environmental Compliance Certificate of the DENR to the Lingayen Gulf Course Project and the public statement of DENR-MGB Regional Director that extraction of black sand at the proposed golf course is necessary to allow golf grasses and other vegetations to grow.
Second, the plunder case on Jueteng was doused with cold water when the former PNP provincial director said that Pangasinan is 96% Jueteng-Free and no evidence cropped up aside from the hearsay statements of a self-confessed Jueteng operator.
Third, the murder charges have become a laughing stock among Pangasinenses especially the lawyers. The members of the Martinez family have been emphatic in saying Gov. Espino and Congressman Celeste have nothing to do with the murder of the late Mayor Martinez. They have been saying all along that their suspect was the political opponent of Mayor Ruperto. However, the plunder case filed by incumbent and former barangay captains in Alaminos against Braganza is already docketed at the Office of the Ombudsman. The truth is, it is the camp of Braganza that is not only playing dirty politics but is executing an unprecedented destructive political ploy that might set a bad precedent to an electoral campaign in a democratic country. (Arian Bermas)